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The question of how people should be educated, regardless of subject of education or the age of the learner, is a difficult thing to answer. Scholars and critics come up with new theories everyday regarding how education should be approached, with new data and the differences between generations of students making older educational strategies obsolete in a matter of years.
Coming up with new educational strategies takes creativity and time, and implementing those strategies in the classroom is an even greater challenge. However, Curriculum and Instruction Majors are trained to grapple with exactly this problem, and the results of their proposed solutions can have far-reaching consequences in the field of education as a whole.
But given the state of the job market for teachers and educators, understanding exactly what you're qualified for with a Curriculum and Instruction major can sometimes be an even tougher problem to break.
Well, that's where we come in. We literally created a map, just for Curriculum and Instruction Majors such as yourself, to navigate your way through the choppy waters of recent graduation.
Feel free to focus on the map alone -- it's pretty cool, if we do say so ourselves. But for those of you who prefer step by step navigation on your path, keep reading. We'll give you the rundown on:
First thing's first: what skills you'll need to get started.
Skills for Curriculum and Instruction Majors are much the same as they are for Education Majors or anyone else interested in teaching. For the most part, they include communication skills such as public speaking and writing, along with the interpersonal skills necessary to interact with students and other teachers in a useful manner.
However, they also require advanced analytical skills in order to not only create their own curricula, but to evaluate existing curricula for inefficiencies and poor design choices in order to recommend future improvements.
Let's take a closer look at what this means for Curriculum and Instruction in particular:
Workers in the Curriculum and Instruction field need to clearly explain changes in the curriculum and teaching standards to teachers, principals, and school staff in order to effectively enact change.
Data analysis is important for those interested in the way that curricula are designed and implemented. Curriculum and Instruction Majors examine student test data and evaluate teaching strategies for their position. Based on their analysis, they might recommend improvements in curriculums and teaching.
Curriculum and Instruction Majors need to be able to establish and maintain positive working relationships with teachers, principals, and other administrators, requiring them to maintain effective interpersonal skills.
Internships are an excellent way to start accumulating experience in any discipline, gaining valuable resume cache while also helping you start your network of industry contacts.
For Curriculum and Instruction Majors, internships are often full time and last an entire school year -- both spring and fall semesters. Student teachers are typically assigned to more experienced instructors and asked to assist in both the class planning process as well as with the individual teaching of classes.
However, depending on the specific internship, a student teacher might be expected to be responsible for planning and teaching certain class periods entirely on their own, or may even teach a week or more of classes.
This can help prospective teachers gain valuable field experience that will both help them develop their own teaching philosophies as well as give them a bit more resume cache.
Before you settle on an internship or placement, though, you'll want to make sure it's the right fit for you. Ask yourself these questions:
For the most part, a person with a Curriculum and Instruction major is going to want to be in the education field in some way or another. The most likely option for someone in this field is a teaching position of some kind, but positions also exist for those interested purely in designing curricula themselves.
Related jobs include working with technical writers to create more effective textbooks, or working with programmers to design better eLearning programs for long-distance or summer learners.
With our map, you can click the Job Titles and learn more specific information for each position (what their responsibilities are, how much they get paid, etc.) But here, we wanted to call out some of the most common jobs for recent Curriculum and Instruction Major grads.
Here are a few of the most interesting jobs for recent grads such as yourself:
Elementary Teachers create lesson plans for subjects such as reading, social studies, mathematics, and science, with the learning abilities and habits of young children in mind. Elementary teachers spend a lot of time working with students one-on-one in order to help make sure that no one student is being left behind.
Instructional Designers use the latest data to create effective eLearning programs designed to help students of various ages learn all kinds of subjects. Instructional Designers might focus on the programs themselves, on the content of the programs, or on the program's aesthetic qualities in order to improve student interaction.
Curriculum and Instruction Directors work with other educators to design specialized curricula, often designed around children or students with unique needs (such as ESL students).
One thing that Curriculum and Instruction might not realize they're qualified for are school administration jobs, like working as a Vice Principal of a high school or working in the Dean's Office of a university. One of the major benefits to someone looking for a job in this capacity would be to have excellent skill at working with students of their preferred age group, as you'll be having a lot of direct contact with them.
Focusing specifically on leadership skills helps someone in the Curriculum and Instruction Major learn to take on a supervisory role in the curriculum creation process, and their education gives them a unique analytical perspective when it comes to suggesting changes or pointing out inefficiencies.
Think About Higher Education
Curriculum and Instruction jobs are primarily teaching-based, so it makes sense in this kind of field to pursue as much education as you're comfortable with.
Lower level Curriculum and Instruction jobs often involve working in high schools or middle schools, which is an age group that not everyone enjoys. If your plan is to work for a college or university in any capacity, going on to get your Master's degree is a must, and a PhD is highly recommended.
More information on pursuing advanced education in Curriculum and Instruction can be found in the next section.
Obtaining a graduate degree in your course of study can serve as an excellent way to separate you from the herd - but you must first decide whether it's worth your time.
Master's in Curriculum and Instruction prepare students largely for work in either high school, community college, or as adjunct professors at a university. The focus is on teaching itself and on the ability of students to design effective curriculum using best teaching practices.
The PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, on the other hand, is almost entirely research-based, with a focus on pedagogy and expanding the field of knowledge of Curriculum and Instruction. PhDs lead more commonly to full-time university faculty positions, or as directors whose position is to design curricula for entire departments.
Here are common advanced degrees that people with [blank] degree normally consider:
Master's in Curriculum and Instruction
If you're still not sure what to do with your degree here are some external sites, to help you with your decision:
The nation's largest professional organization, the NEA is devoted to improving and supporting public education, educators, students, and children.
A professional teaching organization dedicated to leadership, addressing inequality, and improving the lives and learning of students.
American Educational Research Association (AERA)
The AERA is another professional organization for education, this one with a focus on improving academic study and inquiry related to education. Like the others, membership benefits include network and educational opportunities for those in the education field.
Enter "Curriculum and Instruction" into the search bar and you can get a sense of what kind of government jobs are available to Visual and Performing Arts Majors. Find a job title you like and come back here to learn more about it.
The BLS offers detailed data on pay, location, and availability of different kinds of jobs across the country.
In fact, we draw a lot of our research on the best places for jobs from the information provided on the site.
And if this all seems like a lot - don't worry - the hard part (getting your degree!) is already over.